The effects of men's labor migration on women's decision-making power in rural Mozambique

Scott T. Yabiku, Arizona State University
Arusyak Sevoyan, Arizona State University

Labor migration, in both the developing and developed world, is resulting in significant family change. This reorganization of the family unit, whether it is nuclear or extended, has profound implications for how families are organized. We examine the relationship between Mozambican men’s labor migration and the decision-making autonomy of women who stay behind. Although previous studies have examined the associations between men’s labor migration and non-migrating women’s autonomy, we go beyond prior research by testing multiple mechanisms by which men’s migration leads to higher decision-making autonomy of their wives: female employment outside the home, lower fertility, and residential independence from extended family members. The data for our analyses come from a 2006 survey of 1680 married women from 56 rural villages in southern Mozambique. We find that both men’s cumulative migration history and current migration status are positively associated with women’s autonomy and reflect on the mechanisms behind this relationship.

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Presented in Session 98: Consequences of internal migration for families left behind